Doug McCollum, conductor and poet of High Point University Bonner, welcomed family and friends of students participating in the Poetry Project, a partnership with PNAC After-School Programs and HPU’s Community Writing Center.
HIGH POINT, NC, March 6, 2020 – High Point University’s Bonner Leader program has partnered with two Washington Street after-school programs to share the poetry of local school children.
The event was open to the public and gave children the chance to perform original poetry written as part of the Poetry Project workshops in partnership with the Community Writing Center and the PNAC, an after-school program. Douglas McCollum, Senior HPU and Bonner Leader, coordinated the event.
“The poetry project is important to me because of the voice,” said McCollum. “I think a lot of these kids have things to say that they can’t necessarily say otherwise. It’s good to be able to support them in their community, for them to tell their stories, and I have hope in them.
McCollum also praises the Bonner program and what it has provided him as a first-generation researcher and HPU Bonner leader over the past four years.
“The Bonner program has really helped me get used to High Point University,” said McCollum. “It’s a program that allows people to find out who they are and what they can do.
The event hosted full pews of children with their parents, grandparents, siblings and other loved ones who filled the Mount Zion Baptist Church. This year’s topic was “Walk a Mile in My Shoes”. As the children stood up to recite their poetry, their family members showed their support by encouraging them.
“The Poetry Project teaches us how to present famous poems and write our own poetry,” said Danaisa Harrington, elementary school student and active participant in D-Up, a nonprofit in the area, and PNAC after-school programs. . “It creates a safe place and environment for us. We always have fun and practice our poems every time we meet.
Harrington and his four friends recited “Phenomenal Woman” by Maya Angelou.
The Community Writing Center, a partnership between HPU and Mt. Zion, is an after-school program that engages children in reading and writing projects. HPU Bonner leaders and students in service learning classes work closely with children through creative writing practices, interactive exercises, and homework assistance. PNAC (Physical Activity, Nutrition, Academics, and Character Development) is an after-school recreational enrichment program for Washington Street children, also served by HPU students and hosted at D-Up.